Bibhu Mohapatra RTW Spring 2017

U.K-INDIA EXPRESS: When Queen Elizabeth II welcomes a melange of guests to tonight’s launch event for the U.K. India Year of Culture on Monday pat Buckingham Palace, Bibhu Mohapatra will be among the creative types and dignitaries. Born in India, the designer now calls New York home.

This year’s cultural exchange program will celebrate the 70th anniversary of Indian independence from England and their shared cultural ties. The occasion is the culmination of a five-year British Council program that aims to attract a new young Indian audience to the U.K.’s top tier of contemporary creativity. Through a digital campaign, the British Council’s targeted online audience is 50 million. The government  of India is also organizing cultural events in the U.K. to help build deeper connections.

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s first non-E.U. country visit was to India and that involved preliminary talks about a free trade deal pending Britain’s departure from the E.U.

A spokesman fort Monhapatra said Sunday that the designer was looking forward to meeting the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, as well as the many government and cultural representatives from India and the U.K. at the reception. Specialists in the arts, fashion, literature, food and sports are expected in the crowd of a few hundred.

The invitation was welcome news for Mohapatra, who filed for bankruptcy protection last month in New York citing $1.1 million in debt. In search of investors, he still showed his fall collection during New York Fashion Week. He is also planning to show the fall line in Paris following his  London stopover.

Monhapatra will then go on to India to research his next collection, his spokesman said. The designer worked at J.Mendel before starting his own company in 2007, occasionally dressing former First Lady Michelle Obama and such notable clients as Lupita Nyong’o.